COLUMBIA — Columbia City Council members voted unanimously in favor of reconstructing the Maplewood Barn Theater and making improvements to Nifong Park. The estimated budget is $350,000.
The barn burned down in April 2010, and the new barn is expected to begin construction in August, after the theater's summer season closes. The goal is to have the barn completed in time for the 2012 season.
The funding will come from three different sources: $200,000 from the 2010 park sales tax fund, and $90,000 to $110,000 from the city’s insurance fund and from donations.
So far, the program has received $60,000 in donations, said Michael Scott, president of the Maplewood Barn Theater Board of Directors.
“We are very optimistic on what lies ahead of 2011,” Scott said.
The plans for the new barn will maintain the exterior look of the previous barn but improve amenities on the inside.
So far, the interior is planned to have:
- Changing rooms.
- Updated electrical and lighting systems.
- A drinking fountain.
- Utility sinks.
- Secure storage rooms.
- Climate controlled storage for costumes and other weather sensitive materials.
- A secure concessions and admission area.
“It will have a number of features that will make it more secure,” Scott said, in response to the amount of vandalism the barn had sustained over the years. Last weekend, the barn was broken into, and a powder from a fire extinguisher was covering the equipment.
Cameras on top of the barn are among the new surveillance features to expect, Scott said.
Since the fire, the Department of Parks and Recreation has worked with a planning committee that consists of the Maplewood Barn Community Theater, Boone County Historical Society, Firefighters Local 1055, Crockett Engineering and Lyria Bartlett, a local architect from Studio4.
Bartlett and Crockett Engineering both donated their services to this project.
The project is planned to be completed using a combination of both contract and city labor.
“This is an exciting project as part of our cultural history and heritage,” Mayor Bob McDavid, said. “It’s great to see so many groups working together.”